Our organization, Healing Hearts, promotes reconciliation between different ethnic groups in the former Yugoslavia, helping minority groups to overcome their sense of isolation Our programs focus on projects for children and young people designed to rebuild social bonds destroyed through years of war and ethnic violence.
For example, we participate in the U.N.'s UN-sponsored multi-ethnic camp. This year's was held at a ski resort high in the mountains that border Kosovo and Macedonia. The young people attending, who ranged from 12 to 17, engaged in sports and other activities that were intended to foster reconciliation and tolerance of the other ethnic groups.
Kids from the former Yugoslavia gathered for a multi-ethnic camp
Informal activities fostering reconciliation and tolerance
During the last week of the camp, a group of VIPs from the UN, OSCE, and KFOR came to visit the project. They walked into our activity room right while our multi-ethnic group was singing "The Prayer of St. Francis" invoking us to become instruments of God's peace. It was a powerful moment, as these kids were singing so wholeheartedly, and it made a big impression on these high-ranking officials, that they decided to stay longer with us, and watched our "Change the World" drama. This is a skit centering on changing the world, one person at a time.
When the speeches were made later that day, one official mentioned repeatedly that their desire was for all the young people to "go change the world" when the camp finishes. Living in a war-torn country, or should we say of more recent conditions, a "mafia war-torn" country, still deeply affects the Kosovar people. There have several assassinations this year--first a close advisor to President Rugova (as well as three members of his family who were killed in the attack), followed by the assassination of the Prime Minister of Serbia. These events have caused an increased heart-searching and a huge vacuum in the lives of these people who just want to lead normal lives.